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heusy68

CENTRAFRIQUE - CENTRAFRICAN REPUBLIC ORDERS & MEDALS

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Hello Gentlemen,here I will catalogue the very large numbers of Orders & Medals issued by the Centrafrican Republic. This country who was ruled by Jean Bedel Bokassa from 1965 till 1979 was unique in modern history,as in december 1976 Jean Bedel Bokassa who was an admirator of Napoleon 1st declared his country as Centrafrican Empire and self stylised himself as Emperor Bokassa 1st. An amazing coronation ceremony follows one year later on 4 december 1977 (for memory Napoleon 1st was crowned in Paris on 4 december 1804). In september 1979 Bokassa 1st was overthrone by a Coup d'Etat backed against him by France. Actually here it is not the place to discuss politic,but I thought a short introduction was necessary.

As a former french officer of the french army (he served in Indochina), Jean Bedel Bokassa was not only an admirator of Napoleon,but also he liked very very much Orders & Medals,and he created a very large system mostly copied on the french system of Orders & Medals from the French 3rd & 4th Republic.

A general introduction to the country can be read here : http://en.wikipedia....frican_Republic

And here the official web site of the country : http://www.centrafricaine.info/en.html

The highest ranking Order from Centrafrique has ever been the Order of Merit. It was a 4 classes Order at origin, created on 20 June 1959. The rank of Grand Officer was only added on 13 october 1961,then the Order of Merit had 5 Classes.

The Président of the Republic is Grand Master of the Order of Merit,and as so he is the onliest who wear the Collar of the Grand Master.

For army officer you needed to have been Officer of the Order of Reconnaissance (Order of Recognition) for 6 years,to be awarded Knight of the Order of Merit.Then you had to wait again 6 years for the next promotion.

Here you can see below the insignia of Grand Officer of the Order of Merit.

On all the following pictures you will see that there is almost always an hallmark that is visble,it is the hallmark of manufacturer Arthus Bertrand from Paris. None of the award of Centrafrican Republic are in precious metal,with exception of the Order of Operation Bokassa which was in silver-gilt.

Emmanuel

Edited by heusy68

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Here you can see the Officer of the Order of Merit of Centrafrique

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Here you can see an award document for Officer of the Order of Merit of Centrafrique.

Emmanuel

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The second highest Order of Centrafrican Republic is the Order of Recognition ( Ordre de la Reconnaissance ). It was created on 21 May 1962 and it is only a 2 Classes Order ( Knight & Officer ).

Here you can see a Knight of the Recognition.

Emmanuel

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On 19 November 1970 Jean Bedel Bokassa as President of the Republic created the Order of Operation Bokassa which then became the 2nd highest Order . When he declared his country an empire,the motto on obverse side was changed.

The first version reads : General J.B. Bokassa - President de la Republique Centrafricaine

The second version reads : S.M.I. Bokassa 1ier - Empire Centrafricain (S.M.I. = Sa Majesté Imperiale ,in english His Imperial Majesty)

Here you can see a picture of the Grand Cross of the 1st version.

Emmanuel

Edited by heusy68

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Here you can see a Knight of the Order of Operation Bokassa from the Empire (1976-1979).

Emmanuel

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A lot of specific merit Orders were created.The first in date was the Order of Academic Palms, created on 8 August 1962. It is a 3 Classes Order.

Here you can see the highest rank of this Order, Commander of the Order of Academic Palms

All the specific merit Orders of Centrafrique have existed with reverse inscription Empire Centrafricain, in place of Republique Centrafricaine. These version are very rare.

Emmanuel

Edited by heusy68

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Here the insignia of Officer of the Order of Academic Palms of Centrafrique

It exist some variation in the suspension knob. The exemple shown below is an early insgnia with high relief good quality enamel.

Edited by heusy68

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And an award document for Knight of the Order of Academic Palm of Centrafrican Republic.

Edited by heusy68

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On 18 August 1962 was created the 2nd specific merit Order, the Order of Agricultural Merit. Again it is a 3 classes Order.

Here you can see the insignia of Officer.

Emmanuel

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Here the insignia of the Knight of the Order of Agricultural Merit. The Knight like the suspension device and it is 100 % correct.

Emmanuel

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On 8 November 1962 was created the 3rd specific merit Order of Centrafrican Republic, the Order of Post Merit ( Ordre du Merite Postal ). Again it is a 3 Classes Order.

Here you can see the insignia of a Knight of the Order of Postal Merit.

Only ounce I remember to have seen an insignia of the Order of Postal Merit with inscription on reverse : Empire Centrafricain.

Emmanuel

Edited by heusy68

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Still in year 1962 was created a 4th specific Order of Merit. The Order for Industrial & Craftmen Merit ( Ordre du Merite Industriel & Artisanal ).Again it is a 3 classes Order.

Here you can see the insignia of a Commander of the Order for Industrial & Craftmen Merit.

Emmanuel

Edited by heusy68

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Here the insignia of Officer of the Order of Industrial & Craftmen Merit of Centrafrican Republic.

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Still in the 60ies was created a fifth Order of specific merit, the Order of Commercial Merit.Again it is a 3 Classes Order.

It is believed that this Order was few awarded,as only recently some insignia came to market. A french regiment stationed in Bangui returned to France in late 2006 or early 2007,and suddently on the "prefered internet sale web site" a lot of all the award of Centrafrique came available for collectors. After a few months,the stock was empty.

Here an insignia of Officer of the Order of Commercial Merit of the Centrafrican Republic.

Emmanuel

Edited by heusy68

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Here the insignia of Knight of the Order of Commercial Merit of Centrafrican Republic

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The Centrafrican Republic has mainly 2 military award. The first is the Star of Military Merit.

This single class award was created on 8 November 1962. During the Empire period (1976-1979),the letters RCA (Republique Centre Africaine) on the obverse were replaced by ECA (Empire Centre Africain).

Below is the insignia of the republic period.

Emmanuel

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Here the insignia of the Star of Military Merit from the era of Empire of Centrafrique (1976-1979).

As you can see on obverse side,the 3 letters E.C.A. ( Empire Centre Africain )

Emmanuel

Edited by heusy68

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The other purely military award of Centrafrican Republic is the Cross of Military Valour ( Croix de la Valeur Militaire )

Emmanuel

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